WHO Europe members back 5-year vision for healthy Europe

Member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region on Monday endorsed a new 5-year vision on how they want to work together with WHO Europe to meet citizens’ expectations for health.

The European Programme of Work (EPW) 2020-2025 was endorsed by Ministers of Health and public health leaders from the 53 member states of the WHO European Region, according to a press release from WHO Regional Office for Europe.

The EPW, also known as “United Action for Better Health in Europe”, was discussed and agreed during the two-day 70th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (RC70), the European Region’s health assembly, which is being held virtually on Sept. 14-15 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Member states are charged under the EPW to implement three core priorities — guaranteeing the right to universal access to quality care without fear of financial hardship; protecting against health emergencies; and building healthy communities, where public health actions and appropriate public policies secure a better life in an economy of well-being, according to the press release.

“It is very encouraging to see the Member States adopt this vision for health in our Region with such enthusiasm. I am gratified by their commitment to regional solidarity in the face of growing public health challenges, and their strong willingness to tackle pervasive inequalities,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe.

Meantime, Kluge believed that COVID-19 has brought to light the weaknesses and strengths of European society and “forced us to address these issues very quickly.”

“The EPW shows us how to address them in a way that generates trust, better health and ultimately builds back better societies,” he noted.